We left Paducah and finished the long drive south to Rogersville, AL. We were excited to see so many old friends and meet plenty of new ones at the AGLCA Fall Rendezvous (where I apparently did not take a single picture – but thankfully AGLCA saved some!). We had a busy schedule ahead of us and weren’t sure how the kids were going to do with all of it. But they rallied and were great. It was also a school week so their backpacks were packed with a slightly lighter lesson plan than normal. But in part, working on math while sitting in a long session was better than being bored and trying to talk to me the entire time.
The girls alternated between our room, the sessions and their new dog walking business. They started out just walking Mindy from Let’s Go. We met Judy, Marshall and Mindy over the summer and the girls were her unofficial dog walkers whenever we crossed paths. She’s a puppy and they have as much energy as she does some days. Well, at the rendezvous other boat owners saw the girls walking Mindy and asked if they’d walk other dogs as well. Then one person tipped them. And it just sort of caught on. They went back to the room and created a name, logo and slogan for their business (M and M Dog Walkers, Boat Dogs and Boat Girls Walk Together) and wore their “sign” in their lanyards for the rest of the week. They made quite a bit in donations from some very lovely people! And they had a blast doing it.
Back to the rendezvous…..Ben and I had a busy speaking schedule and enjoyed every minute of it. Many people found Ben to chat about electronics questions. He loves writing for Panbo and really is happy to help out. The highlight of my week was listening to Molly. She gave her very own presentation on Families on the Loop! She wrote all of the slides and created the PowerPoint. I helped her add pictures. She took speaker notes and practiced and did a fabulous job. Ben and I were very proud of her. She gave her presentation and answered questions after. There is a video we posted of her giving the presentation on our Have Another Voyage Facebook page if you’d like to check it out.
The highlight of Maddy’s week was the Polo Match event at Bluewater Creek Polo Club. She just loves horses. We started with a hayride around the grounds. Then Maddy got to toss out the polo ball before the first match. Molly got a turn too. And at the end everyone had a chance to go out and see the horses. The best part….we got to meet one of the jockeys who invited us to come back after the rendezvous and find him in the stables!
Ben and the girls participated in the blindfolded dinghy races. Ben drove, blindfolded and facing backwards while the girls tried to direct him. It was comical and they had a great time.
Friday morning we said our goodbyes, checked out and headed back to the farm. What a special treat! The girls (and Ben) got a private polo lesson. Maddy got to help get Sugar all ready to go and then she grabbed a helmet and was boosted up to ride over to the polo ring. Claudi taught her how to play polo! Not sure Maddy riding a horse with a mallet in her hand is the best idea but she managed to hit the ball a few times and was just thrilled to be up on Sugar.
Molly got a turn next. Her arms are a little longer to hit the polo ball. And then it was Ben’s turn! Claudi insisted. Ben used to ride when he was a kid but it’s been a few years. He managed to get up on Sugar and was told to take her for a ride. Maddy was not happy that Ben was given the reins and told to go for it. I explained he’s an adult and he’s ridden before. Ben had fun and figured he may feel it the next day!
After well over an hour we headed back to the stable. Maddy and Molly got to untack Sugar as well and then take pictures with her. It was such a special day. Couldn’t have been a better way to end the week.
We then had to face the long drive back to Grafton. We were anxious to get moving on the water now that the Mississippi had crested and calmed down slightly. And somehow it worked out that the Wilsons arrived in Grafton the same day we drove back! We got back in time to have dinner and lot of laughs and hugs after what felt like a long time apart. Even better, we had our friends to travel with for the next leg of the trip!